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Biado eyes back-to-back

By Jerome Lagunzad

Once he found out that he’s headed straight to the semifinal round of the World 9-Ball Championships via forfeiture after his quarterfinal foe, Chinese Liu Haltao, showed up late, Filipino star Carlo Biado already felt that he’s in for the biggest break of his life.

“Yung makakalaban ko sana sa quarterfinals, hindi naman basta-basta lang. Hindi rin naman pipitsugin lang kasi number 1 sa China ‘yun,” said Biado, 34, recalling the welcome development that highlighted his meteoric rise to the top of world pool during a recent interview with Tempo.

“Kaya nung nangyari ‘yun (win by default), pakiramdam ko ako ang mananalo. Feeling ko sa akin talaga ibibigay ‘yung world title. Parang bonus na kasi talaga ‘yun. Parang tumama na rin ako sa lotto.”

Biado, however, tempered any celebration and he immediately went back to his hotel room to recharge himself up for bigger battles ahead.

That proved to be all that he needed to come up with a strong finish in the annual meet pitting the world’s finest pool sharks as he toppled Taiwanese rival Wu Kun Lin, 11-6, and outclassed unheralded Ronald Garcia, 13-5, in an all-Filipino finals.

His conquest of the coveted world pool title, the first Filipino to achieve such feat in the last seven years since PH icon Django Bustamante did the trick in 2010, capped a banner year for Biado.

The Rosario, La Union-born pool artist clinched his first major title in the 2017 World Games held in Warsaw, Poland last July, clinching the gold medal over British rival Jayson Shaw in the men’s singles nine-ball showdown.

He followed it up by taking the gold medal in the men’s nine-ball competitions in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games a month later before he settled for a bronze in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan last September.

“Talagang maganda at marami ang naging achievements ko last year,” said Biado, who will be accorded by the Philippine Sportswriters Association as one of the Athletes of the Year during its annual Awards Night tomorrow at the Manila Hotel.

“Lahat ng pinangarap ko noon, nagkakatotoo na ngayon. Kahit nu’ng hindi pa ako ganu’n kagaling, pangarap ko na talaga na maging world champion. At sobrang saya ko rin kasi hindi ko naman inaasahan na mapipili ako bilang PSA Athlete of the Year.”